Prescription for Change A new direction for healthcare...

Rate Review

To stop spiraling health insurance rates, we urge state officials to review rate increases for reasonableness, disclose an insurer’s rate calculations, and give consumers a voice in the review process. Policyholders have saved millions in states with a strong rate review process. Use this information to push for a better rate review process in your own state.

Consumers Union Documents

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Press Releases

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Blog Posts

  • Holding health insurance companies accountable

    Keeping your health insurance costs down is one of our top priorities. Which is why we’ve been working both publicly and behind the scenes to make sure insurance companies adhere to the new national health care law that says they can’t spend more than 20 percent of your premium on their overhead, marketing or CEO Continue Reading

  • HHS continues to carefully consider state requests to waive new MLR rule

    On Friday, it was announced that the Department of Health and Human Services rejected North Dakota’s request for a waiver to the new requirement that insurers spend at least 80% of premiums on medical care. The new requirement aims to increase a company’s medical loss ratio, or MLR, to the benefit of consumers who’ll see Continue Reading

  • Governor’s SB11 veto leaves much work for consumers

    Connecticut residents finally got a break from huge health insurance rate hikes in December when the state’s insurance department rejected a 20 percent requested increase from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. Unfortunately, this one rejection was the exception, not the rule. Connecticut has a history of approving double-digit rate hike requests. A recent study from Continue Reading

  • You spoke out, they listened

    You’ve heard us talk about an important provision in the new health law that makes sure your insurance premiums are spent on actual health care, not just insurance company bureaucracy. This rule says insurers can’t spend more than 20 percent of your premium on administrative costs like advertising, salaries, and of course, profits. If insurers can’t Continue Reading

  • More states need rate review like Oregon

    Today, the Oregon insurance regulator rejected Regence’s request for a 22.1% rate increase and instead approved a 12.8% rate increase, saving consumers $12.5 million in the next year. The Department thought it was imperative to significantly lower the rate increase because a higher rate increase “would cause healthier members to drop their coverage, driving rates Continue Reading

  • Are 40 states truly “effective” at protecting consumers from excessive rate hikes?

    When it comes to protecting consumers from unfair health insurance rate hikes, the ball is – for the most part – still in the hands of state regulators.  Let’s see if they will take it to the hoop.   The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has determined that 40 states have an “effective” Continue Reading

  • State regulators’ vote puts a key consumer protection at risk

    In a huge disappointment for consumers, a task force of state insurance regulators voted today to support a Congressional bill that would gut a key consumer protection of the Affordable Care Act, known as the medical loss ratio rule. As we’ve explained before, the medical loss ratio rule requires insurers to spend at least 80 percent of their premium Continue Reading

  • Why Connecticut and every state needs stronger checks on premium hikes

    Now that the Connecticut legislature overwhelmingly passed a bill to crack down on spiraling health insurance rates, all eyes are on the governor to see if he will side with consumers and sign the bill or side with the insurance companies and veto it.  The Connecticut bill gives the state’s insurance commissioner stronger authority to Continue Reading

  • Say what? A health insurer is lowering premiums? Yes, thanks to an ACA rule that some lawmakers now want to gut

    When is the last time you heard about a health insurance company lowering instead of raising premiums for its customers?  Chances are never, but now – thanks to the Affordable Care Act – 15,000 Aetna customers in Connecticut will see their health insurance premiums drop by up to 19.5 percent later this year.  Aetna wants Continue Reading

  • Making a difference: Your emails are having an impact on health insurance rates

    Thousands of you sent emails last week to your state Insurance Commissioners opposing a new scheme that likely would mean higher premium costs for consumers. And your messages helped derail that effort for now!  The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) was meeting in Austin, Tex., last weekend to consider changing a part of the Continue Reading

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News Articles

  • Trade group, other ‘association’ health plans to face rate hike scrutiny
    Source: Kaiser Health News (Friday September 2, 2011)

    Insurers who offer “association health plans,” which are often sold through trade groups or other organizations of affiliated members, will face the same scrutiny of premium rate hikes as other types of insurance, federal officials said Thursday.

  • Double digit insurance hikes to face review
    Source: Modern Healthcare (Thursday September 1, 2011)

    “Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, consumers no longer have to navigate the health insurance market blindly and on their own,” Steve Larsen, director of the CMS’ Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, said in a news release. “The next time your insurance company tries to raise your premium by double digits, it will have Continue Reading

  • Federal workers swallowed big hike in insurance premiums
    Source: The Washington Post (Thursday August 11, 2011)

    Almost half of federal workers enrolled in the long-term care insurance program offered by the government swallowed a 25 percent hike in premiums that blindsidedthem two years ago, a new audit says.

  • Health insurers' rate hikes to face new state reviews
    Source: The Washington Times (Tuesday August 2, 2011)

    The measure is one of two major prongs in the Affordable Care Act that aim to lower premium costs for consumers by regulating insurance companies. Insurers must publicly disclose their proposed rate increase, which will be reviewed by a state board. If the increase is deemed unreasonable, the insurer must justify the increase on the company’s own website and on the ACA website.

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield: Does it Act Nonprofit?
    Source: The Nonprofit Quarterly (Wednesday March 2, 2011)

    In a filing to the Massachusetts Division of Insurance yesterday, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts revealed it has committed to paying $11.3 million in severance to Cleve L. Killingsworth, an executive they parted company with last year after the organization began to run “staggering losses”. Nice work if you can get it.

  • Consumers tell state panel: reject Wellmark Blue Cross, Blue Shield increase
    Source: Globe Gazette (Thursday January 6, 2011)

    Consumers from around the state urged Iowa insurance officials Thursday to reject a proposed 10.8 percent rate increase by  Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

  • California Can’t Block Staggering Health Insurance Rate Hikes
    Source: ABC News (Wednesday January 6, 2010)

    Tens of thousands health insurance policyholders in California begin the new year bracing for rate hikes of up to 59 percent in the coming months — and they are not the only insurance company hiking rates.

  • Blue Cross Has “Excessive” Surplus Consumer Group Says
    Source: Raleigh News & Observer (Thursday July 22, 2010)

    Lawmakers should consider using surplus to help control surging rates, a national consumer advocacy group claims.

  • Blue Cross Piles Up Reserves
    Source: UPI (Thursday July 22, 2010)

    BCBS health insurers set aside billions as they raised premiums for consumers by as much as 20 percent annually in the past decade, a report by Consumers Union released today found.

  • Why we need health reform - Anthem's 25% rate hike
    Source: New York Times (Thursday February 18, 2010)

    Reform bill would put brakes on out-of-scale premium increases

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